The Coffee Table

I travel because I am fascinated by the world - and especially by its people. Our actions can be powerful and far-reaching, but we also create little moments – beautiful songs or poems, special meals, unique atmospheres - that are  not widely-known. Often they say more about a country, and are more rewarding for its visitors to discover, than pop culture.

On this page I will add links to little-known or underappreciated parts of the cultures of every country that I have been to (and many that I haven’t). Use the “Leave a Reply” box below to add recommendations of your own…

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Kseniya Simonova - ‘A requiem in sand’ . An extraordinary Ukrainian artist, who tells stories through animations in sand. She was the winner of ‘Ukraine’s Got Talent’ in 2009.

ICA Kiev. An English-speaking church in Kyiv, which serves Ukrainians and the city’s foreign community.

Okean El’zy‘Druh’ and ‘Ledi‘. An excellent group from western Ukraine, lead by singer/songwriter Svyatoslav Vakarchuk, whose songs and concerts are popular within the Ukrainian diaspora in Canada, Germany and Russia.

Yuliya Savicheva‘Malo’.  A Russian singer, with a song from her album ‘Magnit’.

Nanyuki Children’s Home - a children’s charity in Kenya.

Besh O Drom – ‘Meggyujtom a Pipam’. An energetic Hungarian folk music group. 

Eddy van Wesselphotographer, ‘The Chechens, 1994-2005′. A well-compiled, brutal photo essay of Russia’s war in Chechnya.

Musa Dzhalilpoet. A writer from Tatarstan, Russia, who died in a prisoner of war camp in Germany at the end of the Second World War. The poems on this page are in Russian.

Evgeny Grishkovetsauthor and playwright. A Siberian writer of accessible, energetic prose and thoughtful plays.

Russ Avery and Olivia McGregorCool Footprint. Environmental conservation with a focus on ocean life.

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The Linguist’s Lot

Kyiv, January 2010

If November is Ukraine’s most melancholy month, January is its toughest. With the lawyers I work for coming back from their winter breaks with all the enthusiasm of “dvoiki” schoolboys returning to class on the first day of term, and European investors waiting for the results of Ukraine’s presidential elections before calling upon the lawyers, I have all the time in the world to indulge in my hobbies. It is an opportunity to start the year creatively and productively, but the month goes to waste. Determined to develop my writing I search on Kyiv’s newsstands, in its online ‘papers and on the lips of its people for a story to turn into an article – and find that there is only one: the arrival of a bitterly cold spell of weather that puts paid to all but the most mundane activities.

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Photo set: St. Paul’s Cathedral, London

Photographs of St. Paul’s Cathedral and London’s Embankment area, taken in November 2009.

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Photo set: Stormy Weather In Brighton

A collection of photographs taken from Brighton pier in November 2009, while storms caused rough weather in the English Channel and on the Sussex coast.

See more of my photography here.

Stormy weather in Brighton

 

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Photo set: Before the fall

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Half a dozen photographs that I took in Ukraine this summer - in Khersones (Crimea), Kyiv and Chernihiv.

Kyiv Couple

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Lochscapes: the Isle of Mull in photographs

A gallery of photographs taken on the Isle of Mull, and the smaller islands of Staffa and Lunga to its west, in June and July 2009.

Fishing boat, Pennyghael, Isle of Mull

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